Amazing Grace

lyrics by john newton, music by william walker

Amazing Grace Lyrics

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found,

Was blind, but now I see.


'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

And grace my fears reliev'd;

How precious did that grace appear,

The hour I first believ'd!


Thro' many dangers, toils and snares,

I have already come;

'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.


The Lord has promis'd good to me,

His word my hope secures;

He will my shield and portion be,

As long as life endures.


Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,

And mortal life shall cease;

I shall possess, within the veil,

A life of joy and peace.


The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,

The sun forbear to shine;

But God, who call'd me here below,

Will be forever mine. mine.


When we've been there ten thousand years,

Bright shining as the sun,

We've no less days to sing God's praise

Than when we'd first begun.



Amazing Grace Guitar Chords


 E                A         E

Amazing grace how sweet the sound


That saved a wretch like me

  E                 A      E

I once was lost but now am found

              B7    E

Was blind but now I see


Scripture References

  • 1 Chronicles 17:16 - Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?
  • Romans 7:24 - What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
  • Ephesians 2:4-5 -But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

The Story


John Newton was a troubled kid who turned into a troubled young adult. His mother had died of tuberculosis when he was only six. His father worked on a boat and was never around, so he was raised by a stepmother who was distant to him and spent time in a boarding school where he was mistreated. At age 11, Newton joined his father as an apprentice on a ship.


As he grew into adulthood, he became an insolent, headstrong man, ultimately renouncing the little faith that had been instilled in him by his mother. He joined the Royal Navy, only to desert, be captured, and be publicly flogged and demoted. After this he joined a slave ship and ended up continuing behavior that resulted in he himself being imprisoned, enslaved and forced to work on plantations like the slaves he was carrying. He was ultimately rescued by a sea captain who had known his father.


Aboard his new ship, the Greyhound, Newton continued his ways, described by the captain of the ship as one of the most profane men he had ever met. But one day in March 1748 in the North Atlantic, the ship encountered a horrific storm. Newton witnessed one of his fellow crew members swept overboard by the waves to his death--from a place where Newton himself was standing just moments earlier. As water poured onto the ship, the crew began a desperate effort to empty water to keep the ship from capsizing. After hours of a losing battle of bailing water, with their captain's agreement, Newton and a shipmate tied themselves to the ship's pump to keep from being swept overboard and continued to work for several more hours. At the point of his greatest desperation, he cried out, "Lord, have mercy on us."


Two weeks later, the battered ship and what was left of the crew landed in Ireland. Weeks prior to the trip, Newton had been reading "The Christian's Pattern", sort of a Cliff's Note's version of The Imitation of Christ. He though back to the phrase he had cried out on the ship, and then thought about how he had not only renounced his faith, but also openly opposed it, mocked others of faith, and denounced God as a myth.


On May 10, 1748, Newton accepted faith in Christ. Unlike some of the stories about his, he didn't give up the slave trade right away, but he did see to it that slaves under his care were treated humanely. He continued sailing for seven more years, during which time he educated himself. After he gave up sailing in 1755, he came to know religious leaders of the day such as George Whitefield and John Wesley. Newton eventually became an ordained minister.


In 1767 the poet William Cowper settled in Newton's town of Olney, where the two became good friends. They held weekly church services and weekly prayer meetings, and composed hymns to be used during the weekly service, which eventually were compiled and published in an early hymnal called "Olney Hymns" in 1779, which contained 68 pieces by Cowper and 280 by Newton.


The music that we associate with Amazing Grace actually wasn't added to the hymn until 1835, when William Walker tied the words to a traditional song called "New Britain". The pairing stuck and the hymn went on to become one of the most famous and well-loved in history.


How is it that a profligate and profane young man who was only destined for misery, suffering, and sure death could have turn into a powerful minister for God who lived a long and contented life, who died with the hope of heaven in his heart, and who wrote such powerful words that still carry power today? It all comes down to two words: Amazing Grace. And if that Grace can touch a man like that, how much more can it transform your life. All you need to do is accept it.


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